Have you ever noticed that after a visit to the museum your kids look smarter, more enriched and their imaginations are brimming with ideas? Keep that feeling going and check out these special events offered by museums from around the Bay Area. From sleeping with penguins (seriously!) to events dedicated to showcasing different cultures, there will be something for the littlest in your family to the oldest child. And we promise parents are in for a treat, too. Read on to learn more.

photo credit: Megan Kalkstein

San Francisco

Children’s Creativity Museum
This interactive multimedia arts and technology museum is perfect for your little engineer or fledging artist. Every Thursday 2-6 year-olds do hands-on explorations in science, art, crafting and storytelling. Insider tip: dress in clothes that you don’t mind getting a little messy. Creativity is clean – said no one ever. Read more about what the Children’s Creativity Museum offers.

Visit Children’s Creativity Museum:
Early Explorers happens every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
221 4th St.
San Francisco, CA
Cost: $12.95 for ages 2 and older (please note there is an additional fee for the Blue Bear School of Music).
Online: www.creativity.org

photo: Tarah Photography

Academy of Sciences
Have you dreamed of sleeping with penguins or have you thought that the Academy of Sciences would be spooky late at night? You’re in luck! The Academy of Sciences hosts special events year round. And yes, one of those events is the popular Penguins + Pajamas Sleepovers. Dates and details listed the website – this is an experience the entire family will be talking about for years to come.

Ready to get spooked? On October 28th Academy of Sciences is hosting a Werewolf, Vampire, and Mummy Party from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. with general admission from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. These are just two of the handful of special events the Academy hosts. So check the Academy of Sciences’ calendar and plan your next visit. Insider tip: buy tickets in advance as tickets sell out regularly.

Visit Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Online: www.calacademy.org

photo: Academy Of Sciences

Randall Museum
Keep your children’s minds exploring on the weekends with Randall Museum’s Saturday Science and the Afternoon Art workshops. The drop-in and hand-on workshops, kids will explore concepts through simple investigations and crafting. If you’re looking for weekday events, you’re in luck! Randall Museum also hosts their Active Art workshop for infants and toddlers on Fridays; and the Tiny Artist Studio on Tuesday for children 2-5 years old. Be sure to check the Randall Museum calendar for updates on new future events too. Read all the details about Randall Museum and what it offers. Insider tip: Arrive early as classes fill up quickly.

Visit Randall Museum at their temporary location:
745 Treat Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Cost: $5 for an adult/child combo and $3 for each additional person
Online: www.randallmuseum.org

photo: Randall Museum

Exploratorium
The Exploratorium likely tops your list of places to visit with the kids, but did you know the Exploratorium has a special event for kids ages 7 and older? Spend an evening at the Exploratorium after it has closed it doors to the public on select Fridays and Saturdays for the Tactile Dome experience. If you’re afraid of the dark or claustrophobic, this event is not for you (there are other restrictions so please see the website before purchasing tickets). The lights turn off in the Tactile Dome requiring you to use only your sense of touch to crawl, slide and bump your way through the maze. Surly it’ll be a kid favorite. Insider tip: Even though it’s dark, wear clothes that you can climb easily around. No full moons in the Tactile Dome please!

Visit the Exploratorium
Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green St.)
San Francisco, CA 94111
Cost: In addition to the cost of admission, Tactile Dome visits are $12 for members and $15 for nonmembers for one-hour daytime excursions and on select Friday and Saturday evenings
Online: www.exploratorium.edu

Museum of Craft and Design
A hidden gem in the heart of the Dogpatch District in San Francisco, the Museum of Craft and Design (MCD) offers regular art and craft workshops during the year. Get ready to make Tessellated Tile Placemats, Sorcerer School Supplies and deck out your Halloween costume with MCD’s spooky Hats and Headwear workshop. Check MCD’s calendar for upcoming events that take place year round. Please note, not all events are hosted onsite, so be sure to check their calendar that has all the details. Insider tip: These art workshops are next level cute so be ready to pull your phone out to snap some pictures of the work table and the finished product.

Visit the Museum of Craft and Design
2569 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Cost: Prices range from free to $5; please check each event for details
Online: www.sfmcd.org

Museum Events Around the Bay

Cantor Arts Center
With endless opportunities for your budding artist to try new mediums and learn new techniques, there’s something for everyone here. An artist favorite is Second Sundays, a drop-in painting class that encourages exploration of color. Cantor Arts Center also offers a monthly drop-in studio that is perfect for introducing your little one to new art mediums and letting them try it out. You never know, they might just find their calling. Need a little inspiration? No problem! Take a stroll through the museum that features 24 galleries and sculpture gardens. Draw outside the lines and learn more about the Cantor Arts Center for your next visit. Insider tip: even though aprons are offered for children to wear while painting, dress them in their best painting clothes.

Visit the Cantor Arts Center:
Second Sundays at The Cantor Arts Center happen on the second Sunday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

328 Lomita Dr.
Stanford, Ca
Cost: Free
Online: www.museum.stanford.edu

photo: Meghan Kalkstein 

Habitot Children’s Museum
Perfect for infants and toddlers, Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley offers special events every month typically tied to a major holiday such as Halloween in October or Let’s Go Vote Day in November. If you’re looking for weekly events, Habitot recently brought back its popular Storytime on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. Also, the family can join the fun every weekend at the Family STEM Saturdays with hours of kinetic sand play. With so many special events every month, this is sure to be a family favorite spot. Check Habitot’s calendar for their monthly special events. Insider tip: Habitot also offers date nights for parents. Drop the kids off and take a few hours to yourselves.

Visit Habitot Children’s Museum
2065 Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA
Cost: $12 Adults and Children; Free for infants under 12 months
Online: www.habitot.org

photo: Habitot Children’s Museum

Children’s Discovery Museum
Celebrate your own culture or introduce your child to a new culture with Children’s Discovery Museum’s special events. Events include El Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos a celebration of Latino culture, Lunar New Year a celebration of Chinese and Vietnamese culture, Children of the Dragon Weekend a celebration of Vietnamese culture and Diwali a celebration of Indian culture. CDM also hosts special events to stimulate children’s thinking, imaginations and more. Check CDM’s calendar for upcoming events. Lastly, with 150 exhibits to explore, get the full scoop about the Children’s Discovery Museum. Insider tip: Get in the spirit of things and dress your kids in the traditional clothing of the event.

Visit Children’s Discovery Museum
180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA 95110
Cost: $15 Adults and Children; Free for children under 1 years old
Online: www.cdm.org

photo: Scott Wardell

What museum event will you attend first? Let us know in the comments!

—Tarah Beaven